How Does A Clean Prior Record Impact A Criminal Case?

A clean record always helps your criminal case. If you’re well-educated, employed, or married with children, that helps even more.

Why? Because the people who are going to decide what happens in your case are prosecutors, judges, and jurors. Prosecutors and judges don’t have criminal records and are well-educated people who have always been employed. Many of them are married and have children. The same is true for a lot of jurors. If a prosecutor, judge, or juror sees someone who is like them—with a family, job, and a clean record–they are more likely to believe your defense simply because you’re more like them. And, worse comes to worse, even if you are convicted at trial or have to plead guilty, a prosecutor, judge, or jury is more likely to give you a lenient punishment for the same reason.

On the other hand, if you’ve been to prison several times, it’s easy to stereotype you as a criminal, and prosecutors, judges, and jurors are less likely to believe anything you have to say even if it’s true. For the same reason, you’re more likely to get a harsher sentence.

Of course, that’s not to say at all that your case is dictated by your record. You can still get life in prison for a heinous murder even if you have no criminal record. And you can still have your case dismissed or be found not guilty if you have an extensive criminal record. Every case is different. But the general rule is, the cleaner your record, and the more you’re like the average prosecutor, judge, and juror, the better it is for your case.

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